Exhibition: What Goes On In the Mind

What: Exhibition, ‘What Goes On In the Mind’
When: June 4th – July 4th, Reception Drinks June 11, 2-4pm
Where: Oxford Town Hall Gallery, St. Aldate’s, OX1 1BX

Opening Drinks Reception, this Saturday, June 11th, 2-4pm. All welcome! Facebook Event Page

Arts organisations AIMS (Oxford) and Mental Spaghetti (London) are exhibiting work from 18 artists, 9 from London and 9 from Oxford, both emerging and established, all with lived experience of mental health and/or physical disabilities.

Work ranges from painting, illustration, textile and sculpture, and will give an invaluable insight into the relationship between art, health and wellbeing as communication whilst navigating through life.

All our artists have incredible life stories and will be sharing intimate accounts of experiences and emotions that many of us have experienced but have been reluctant to share.

Expect dream-like worlds, fond memories, autobiographical fantasy realms and the cataloguing of experience.

Artwork by Jason Randall

In addition to finished pieces, there will be sketchbooks, notations and illustrated diaries on display, offering an illuminating view of the creative journey from ideas to finished pieces.

Artists are showing new, never exhibited, pieces and existing work. This exhibition is also chance to see work from previous collections that have not been exhibited in years.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 4th June until Tuesday 4th July. A drinks reception will be held on Saturday 11th June, from 2-4pm, with a chance to meet and talk to the artists involved.

Full list of exhibiting artists:

AIMS artists
Terrentius Andersohn, Dennis Day, Augus Davidge, Alistair Franklin, Yvonne Mabs Francis, Jason Randall, Luna Rain, Anthony Tozer, Sarah Warren.

Mental Spaghetti Artists
Tim Bradford, Emma Duggan, Terence Wilde, Laura Greenway, John Moore, Li Williams, Mikey Georgeson, Marie-Louise Plum, Jan Arden.

Mental Spaghetti contact: email / @mentalspaghetti / http://www.mentalspaghetti.org
AIMS contact: email

What Goes On In the Mind
The Gallery
Oxford Town Hall
St Aldate’s

Opening times: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm


Call for Submissions: ONE BARE FOOT SQUARE

WHAT: Call for art submissions for One Bare Foot Square.
WHEN: Deadline, 7 May 2016. First show runs 30 July – 13 August 2016.
WHERE: Launch exhibition, July 30 2016, Amsterdam Outsider Art Gallery.

Are you an artist interested in exhibiting with other artists, in a collaborative touring exhibition, with the opportunity to host the artwork locally? Yvonne Mabs Francis alerted us to this excellent opportunity from Nok and Uncooked Culture, read on to get involved…

Following 4 years of travelling art work, across the UK and three continents worldwide, UNCOOKED CULTURE are calling for art submissions to be part of their new new touring exhibition, ‘One Bare Foot Square’.

Example of artwork: Painting created by Bert Schoonhoven on bare canvas,
16 x 16in (30 x 30 cm) including blank borders.

CONCEPT: ‘Led by artist ‘Nok’, the founder and director of Uncooked Culture, this new touring art project aims to “create mobility and accessibility of art and build a Sustainable Artists Community across the world”, and they “encourage and invite artists from all disciplines to participate in the project.”

BRIEF: Dimensions of the work must be 16 inches square, consisting of a painted area on bare canvas (without any support or stretchers). The painted area must be 12 inches square, leaving a 2 inch blank/unpainted margin around the artwork. Each individual artwork will be stitched onto a piece of fabric, to form a large collaborative artwork, using the four corners of the 2 inch margin area to create a big wall mural on large scale fabric support. 

The required 2 inch surrounding margin around the painted area is designed to serve the purpose of selling the work. Once an artwork is purchased, the work can be wrapped and fixed onto a standard 12 x 12 inch stretcher (canvas frame). Some stretchers/canvas frames and mounting service may be provided in the exhibition.

THEME: ‘Paradox of Life… Bright & Dark side of the Moon’. Your life expression, or story, on each single square canvas will be a part of this collected ‘Life Journey Mural’. The mural will reflect the spectrum of human paths, experience and psychology.

KEY WORDS: Life journey, bright or dark side – Imaginative journey – Fantasy adventure – Reality – Capability – Incapability – Coordination – Fragmentation – Dream – Struggle – Naievety – Purity – Manipulation

INSPIRATION: The project is inspired by artists mosaic canvases from the previous Uncooked Culture art project, ‘Circus Terminal Worldwide’, Suriname, South America 2014.

Deadline for expressing your interest: 25 March 2016
Deadline for artwork JPEGS (work in progress images are acceptable): 30 April 2016
Deadline for artwork delivery to Uncooked Culture in London, UK: 7 MAY 2016
Submissions must be sent to: uncookedculture@gmail.com
http://www.uncookedculturegallery.com / www.uncookedculture.com

LAUNCH EXHIBITION: ‘One Bare Foot Square’ is scheduled to be launched 30 July 2016 at The Amsterdam Outsider Art Gallery in The Netherlands at its old location in Amsterdam (Nieuwe Keizersgracht 1A, 1018, DR Amsterdam), with the first exhibition from the project. Dates of the debut exhibition are to be concluded.

SELLING WORK: All works will be at set wall-price of £200 each, including 20% contribution to the project from the sales of artwork. Pricing your artwork in an exceptional cases can be discussed. Changes of price are possible, based on situations such as required commission from the venue/gallery hosting the project and nature of different currency. All participating artists will be informed in advance if the set price would need to be adjusted.

OPPORTUNITY TO HOST THE PROJECT: All participating artists are invited to host the touring wall mural in their town or city. ‘One Bare Foot Square’ adopts a format used in the ‘Uncooked Culture – Circus Terminal Worldwide’ project, bringing local and international artists to collaborate and share their inspirational creativity together. Everywhere the project will be held, local artists will be invited to create square canvases to incorporate the mural from international artists. Lead artist(s) of each exhibition stop, where the project will be held, will be working closely with Nok, the project lead artist. Additional events, such as workshops, are encouraged to be held along with the exhibition to inspire creativity to the local community.

Please feel free to get in touch if you are interested in hosting this project with Nok in your community: uncookedculture@gmail.com

PLEASE NOTE: Only original artworks will be accepted. Computer generated work and any forms of reproduction, except handmade print-making, will not be accepted. Only recent artworks created during 2013 – 2016 will be included in this project. Artists can replace their sold artworks with other artworks that follow the format required for the project.

WHO CAN SUBMIT: Both non-members and members of Uncooked Culture at http://www.uncookedculture.ning.com. An artist can submit various forms of art on canvas – drawing, painting, collage, handmade print-making & mixed-media. A maximum of 3 works per artist can be submitted. Sculptural works can be submitted upon discussion of format, dimensions and weight condition, please contact Nok to discuss specifics: uncookedculture@gmail.com.

More info about Circus Terminal Worldwide, on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CircusTerminalWorldwide

Circus Terminal Worldwide at Uncooked Culture’s Archive

Anxiety Arts Festival 2014

Barbican, South London Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Freud Museum, Wigmore Hall, Dulwich Picture Gallery…
Visual art, music, dance, theatre and film

“Anxiety Arts Festival 2014 is a London-wide festival that explores the way anxiety and art interact.

From the sense of unease created by a Hitchcock film, to new commissions in music by Jocelyn Pook and art by Bonnie Camplin, leading artists explore their own anxieties and chronicle the neurosis of modern life – offering us insights into our own anxieties.

The correlation between creativity and mental illness is well documented, and the rapid social, cultural and political changes of the last century mean that anxiety is one of today’s most prevalent mental disorders. While this central aspect of our contemporary condition is reflected in the arts, this is the first time the link has been explored in detail by bringing artists together with leading mental health professionals and academics. Curated by the Mental Health Foundation, the Anxiety Arts festival questions our definitions of normality and acknowledges the creative power of anxiety through music, film, art, dance and theatre.

The Anxiety film season sees screenings at the Barbican and the Picturehouse cinemas, the National Portrait Gallery and the ICA, ranging from classic tension-builders – such as Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Lodger’ and Andre Tarkovsky’s ‘Solaris’ – to recent explorations of the psyche. The season gives a brief story of anxiety in cinema, revealing the roles that have given character to our anxieties, such as the hysterical housewife and the melancholy migrant. Throughout, psychologists are brought together with cinema experts and performers to get to grips with what cinema can reveal about anxiety. Rare screenings – such as Peter Robinson’s documentary about RD Laing’s radical Archway community, Asylum – will screen alongside new work looking at modern issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxieties around issues of race and home.

The Visual Arts programme explores the flexible and often contested boundaries between sanity and insanity, as well as the social and cultural anxieties associated with social labels. New commissions exhibitions, performances, residencies and artists’ films, at South London Gallery, Gasworks and BFI reflect on what is considered ‘normal’ and the associated pressure of fitting one’s subjective experiences within this frame.”

The full programme for Anxiety Arts 2014 is launched today, check it out at www.anxiety2014.org.

Bold and Indie, the art of Maree.

Today’s post comes from Maree, author of Bold and Indie. Maree is an ’emerging bipolar artist’, having been diagnosed in June 2011 with bipolar type 1. In her blog bio, Maree says “Bold & Indie started half way between Central Victoria and Florence. The artist behind Bold & Indie, Maree lives with her beautiful family, rescued horses and happy pups. She draws from her Bi Polar Disorder, Cancer survival journey and life lessons learned as a source of inspiration that comes with living with the unremitting disability. Art meditation with colour, composition and layout is used. Maree is continually inspired to paint the world, in various points of view, tones, colours, and shades from the inside out.”

I have some work from her gallery to share with you, and also an interesting blog post on living her life with bipolar type 1.

“It has been established over the many months that I have a mental illness / disability. I have learned over the years particularly during my cancer diagnosis that we cannot control the cards we are dealt, but we can certainly choose how we play the hand. I am happy to say that for now, I have read my last Bi Polar Disorder library book. I have stopped “Google-ing” and saving “pdf” scholarly medical articles on mental illness. My visits to online chat forums on mental illness have trickled to cessation. I have visited all the relevant and not so relevant websites and am armed with all the facts that I need, now its time to live life with the disorder/illness/disability and find out through experience what it all means.

When my dear partner was also diagnosed with a similar disorder a few years ago, we decided then not to be defined by a label. My husband continues to live in this essence and continues to be my role model, my guide, my confidant and my personal hero. He is my Bi Polar champion!

I have sat for seven months.

I have rocked. I have listened. I have cried. I have talked. I have yelled. I have grieved. I have photographed. I have discussed. I have read. I have browsed. I have raged. I have forgiven. I have honoured. I have respected. I have accepted. I am ready.

I have Bi Polar Type I disorder. With that disorder comes limitations owing to medications, brain psychoses, chemical imbalances with bad days and good days. I have the disorder, I am not the disorder. It has been acknowledged and embraced that I will have at times debilitating side effects but I also have a ferocious independence, confidence and ability within me to jump on an aeroplane and embark on an international adventure of a lifetime with my little girl. I know that I will be much slower in my mental capacity to think, to compute, to complete and to reason, however, with assistance and support, it does not mean I cannot complete a visual arts university degree, on the contrary, the world awaits. Sometimes it takes a breakdown of the familiar to re-evaluate what we already have and who we already are. It may take a time of feeling ‘lost or alone’ to push us to reconnect with our inner world and spirit. Experiencing that this is possible, especially in times of confusion or grief is amazing. It brings a sense of being and belonging. If offers a steadying truth that lets us live from our strengths.

Circumstances must change to accommodate new needs, but that does not mean stopping life and living permanently. Shifts happen. Life is fluid and when you allow shifts to happen in your life, when you finally let go and let see, that’s when you commence a journey of a lifetime that is equally as rewarding as it is challenging. We can be responsible for changes in attitude and behaviour. Sometimes those changes will be extraordinarily inconvenient and others may be truly enhancing and liberating. Every time you make a choice, I have learned, you are turning that part of you that chooses into something a little different from what it was before and hopefully it is always for the better, knowing that my life has depth and meaning and that we are all a part of something infinite, for a love for ourselves and others can heal our insufficiencies; for a joy in living that authentically honours it.

Finally, it would be remiss of me if I did not convey my sincerest and heartfelt thanks to you, the reader and friend for accompanying me on this journey of self-discovery and diagnosis. Thank you for being there for me when things were wild and equally depressing. Thank you for your comments on the blog, your text messages, your private mail and comments on social media sites and subscribing to my ramblings. It means that you care and I am forever thankful for that.

Thank you for accepting who I am, and have honoured the shift from who I was and used to be. I hope I have at the very least through the blog and posts, given you a deep and meaningful insight into mental illness and what it means, especially my beautiful close friends, my dearest colleagues and family, you know who you are, where this subject was foreign, confronting, scary and unchartered. I hope I have removed some of the stigma that is associated with mental illness and made to more ‘okay’ to be approached, understood and appreciated. Learning who and what we are we learn to ‘author’ our own lives. We stumble forward. We make presumptions. We change our minds and finally we learn to heal.

Perhaps someday, down the track when I have officially become a student artist in waiting, I may merge all my blogs into one on the very essence of me and who I am today, the completely sassy, bold Bi Polar, student artist in waiting, cancer survivor, mother, wife, fabulous woman! Call me Van Gogh-ette!

This is not the end, it is but a closing chapter on my diagnosis of mental illness moreover, it is an opening chapter on the rest of my life and all that waits.”


Inferno is a service user with Bipolar. She is taking medication, Lamictal and Clonazepam. It might seem a bit strange to add this but I think it’s relevant and important. Inferno is female, 35 years old and a potter by trade. She also takes part in creating other works of art, like this wonderful drawing. Inferno has signed up to the Mental Spaghetti forum as she, like me, is keen to build a community of creative service users.

“I am a 35 year old female, who just happens to be Bipolar, and an artist. I am a potter/sculptor by trade, and a dabbler at anything else that requires art supplies of any sort. Art is therapy, a pass-time, and an instinctual, absolute NEED to me. I simply must be creating something most of the time. I have been “officially” Bipolar for 5 years now. Although I know I have been most of my life. Art has been my saviour. I urge anyone, artistic or not, to try art therapy. Let those art supplies fly, you will be surprised how good it feels!”

Inferno’s website ‘The Demons Within: Being a Bipolar Artist‘. Please take a look.

Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc.

Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc., is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit incorporation organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and networking purposes to promote, develop, and support international art therapy initiatives and the work of art therapists worldwide.  ATWB was founded in April 2010 to meet the need for an organization dedicated to a global art therapy community; the exchange of information, news, media, and resources; the development of online educational opportunities; and the advancement of collaboration and research. Our core mission is to encourage the use of art in service to others in need through art therapy, art in healthcare, and art as a form of social transformation.

The Art Therapy Alliance and International Art Therapy Organization have formed this umbrella organization to consolidate our programs, but still provide the art therapy community with a vital social network dedicated to education, research, information exchange, and service to others.”

All text and video taken from http://www.atwb.org/.

Art Therapy Alliance.

I found a great Facebook Page the other day – Art Therapy Alliance. In their own words they “embrace social media & connection online to promote art therapy, the work of art therapists, & build community.

The Art Therapy Alliance is an online professional group for art therapists on LinkedIn and fans on Facebook founded by Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC. Our website, Twitter, and Facebook fanpage feature resources, groups, blogs, and more related to the field of art therapy worldwide.”

Penny Saylor talks about some of her art work while standing in front of a picture she painted of her daughter, Kandace Merrill, from when she was a child. Saylor and her daughter have their artwork on display in the lobby at Community Mental Health of Muskegon and a reception was held on Wednesday evening for the pair. Chronicle Photo by Matt Gade.

If you take only a cursory scan of their fanpage wall you can see various news items regarding health and wellbeing (not all directly mental health related) including the current exhibition of clinically depressed artist Penny Saylor from Michigan, USA, and Donna Mitchell, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder three years ago.

Penny Saylor talks with Chris Erickson about her piece called “Dreams” during a reception at the Community Mental Health of Muskegon on Wednesday afternoon in the lobby. Saylor and her daughter Kandace Merrill are the feature artists in the Gallery at CMH Muskegon. Chronicle Photo by Matt Gade.

The Art Therapy Alliance fanpage is interesting, informative and a great resource to further your experience of art, creativity and mental health service users as well as art therapy and how creating art can be therapeutic. In August-September 2010 the ATA set up an artist trading card swap project. Here is a video about the project and some of the cards traded. It’s a lovely concept and one that builds interaction between artists who are also mental health service users.

Photos in this article copywrite Muskegon Chronicle.